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The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) recently launched a new online research tool to help doctors and patients determine appropriate and effective alternative therapies.
Available at nccam.nih.gov, the resource provides hyperlinks to practice guideline material, safety information, links to reviews of alternative treatments, summaries and research literature, fact sheets, information on continued education for doctors and a tool kit to teach physicians how to talk about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), among other helpful information.
"NCCAM is charged to study and provide evidence-based information on the safety and efficacy of CAM health practices that are readily available and already used by a great number of people," said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of NCCAM.
The NIH reports that people in the U.S. spend an estimated $34 billion each year on CAM practices. Additionally, about 40 percent of American adults and 12 percent of children use such treatments, but as much as two-thirds of these individuals do not discuss CAM with their doctors.